Carry on…as one
A New Temple
Any outsider can become an insider by grace through faith.
Before Christ died on the cross the Jews were God’s chosen people. They were the insiders. They knew things the Gentiles didn’t. They knew the right clothes to wear, the right foods to eat. They knew the rules for righteous living. But the greatest sign – the one thing that demonstrated the were insiders – was circumcision. It was the Jewish brand. To be called “uncircumcised” was a slur aimed at the Gentiles. And the only way an outsider, a Gentile, could become an insider was to become circumcised.
The old Jewish brand of circumcision was abolished at the cross. When Jesus died, total access to God the Father was granted through Christ’s blood. The great division between Jews and Gentiles no longer exists. Anyone who believes in Christ may now enter into God’s holy presence. Any outsider can become an insider by grace through faith.
When Jesus died, every wall lost it’s power to divide.
Read Ephesians 2:17-22
The Jews could boast of many things, but the temple was the pinnacle of Jewish pride, for this was God’s dwelling place, behind the veil in the Holy of Holies. The temple was no makeshift construction. It was designed with great detail; only the finest materials were used. Every year the Jews would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and the temple was the central location.
The Gentiles, however, were not allowed to enter the Jewish temple beyond a certain point. This was a constant reminder to them of the literal status as outsiders.
When Jesus died on the cross, the temple veil was torn, from top to bottom, and through Him all believers have access to God’s presence. But the Jews struggled to understand that God wanted to welcome the Gentiles into His presence. They were so convinced of their special status in God’s eyes that Paul needs to reiterate, again and again, that all believers are now one body in Christ. A separation between the two groups no longer exists. When Jesus died, every wall lost its power to divide.
God once dwelled in the temple in Jerusalem, but because of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, the Holy Spirit now lives inside every believer. Our bodies are the new temple. And since we are His temple, our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ is paramount. The walls that divide us must come down. Petty disagreements over the “things” of this world cannot and must not come between us. Each of us must be an instrument for unity in Christ’s holy church.
Through whom do we have access to the Father?
Where does the Holy Spirit now dwell?
What does it mean that God abolished the division between the Jews and Gentiles? What does it say about God’s desire for unity in the body of Christ?
The church is likened to the metaphor of a building, where each person is a living stone and together we form the building. Christ is the chief cornerstone, in whom all things hold together. In your own life circumstances, when are you tempted to feel as though you’re the one who need to hold it all together? How can you release your cares into the hands of the One who really does hold all things together?
Write it out – Grab your journal or notebook and write out Ephesians 2:17-22, and with each word you write, ask God to show you a way you can be an instrument of unity in your local church.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for destroying the barriers that kept Your people apart. Thank you for seeing Your people as one. Forgive me when I’m tempted to put up walls of division between myself and others. Help me to see others as You see us all. Help me to be an instrument of unity in my local church body. Amen.
May God give you the Spirit of wisdom & revelation so that you may know Him better. Have an awesome day in the Lord!! Ephesians 1:17
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Denise J. Hughes, “Word Writes: Ephesians”